Our most favorite event of the year is the Tremont Art and Culture Festival. And it is happening this saturday and sunday, September 21-22 in Lincoln Park, along W 14th Street. The park is 5 acres of space centered by a lovely old gazebo, and paths that radiate from it. Right now the park is simply landscaping scattered with a few people enjoying the space, walking their dogs, or playing chess, but saturday morning this space transforms into an artists village, food village, huge stage, childrens village and the energy rises.
We are so thrilled to be juried in again. Steve and I have been a part of this festival from its inception – because Steve worked for Tremont we were there to help others set up, organize the spaces, collect the art donations, man the booth, sell raffle tickets and do whatever was needed. As artists for the last 4 years we enjoy setting up our own tent, and becoming a part of the community and fellowship of artists. We have developed friendships with other artists, and learned so much from each other. Some people we only see at Tremont, and others are tracking to the same events, old familiar faces that reassure us this will be a wonderful weekend.
Tremont has such an amazing history that dates back to pre Civil War. If you look around the neighborhood you will find some pre-civil war houses that remain occupied still as homes. At one point when the Rockefellers ruled the business community of Cleveland they began plans for establishing a college in Tremont, which explains the names of the streets – professor, literary, etc. But in an unexpected move they took their plans to Chicago and established a college there instead. That never stopped the growth and development. Various ethnic groups set up enclaves in the boundaries of this neighborhood, the Old South Side. And those ethnic roots are still present with some of the old established businesses like Sokalowski’s University Inn. Tremont was always a working community , with many of the industries within walking distance. As the economy changed, and old families moved out to the suburbs and Tremont changed. I had the joy of attending church in Tremont as a child so i watched and remember when it was an old ethnic enclave, and watched as the socio-economic status shifted drastically. And i remember the intimidation of knowing the streets were overrun with crime, arson, and drugs. The 1980s were a particularly hard time in Tremont, with buildings abandoned, run down, and crack addicts squatting. The community was strong, united and took strong steps to rebuild from the difficulties. Slowly people moved back in, spent money on fixing up, or building new, and wow… it is a destination neighborhood with world class chefs and amazing art. The niftiest part about Tremont is that the heritage of diversity has been embraced, accepted, encouraged. And in great ways the Art and Culture Festival showcases so much of this diversity – from Sister Corita leading her brigade of hard working guys and cooking budget sensitive local food, to the high end fancy restaurants peddling gourmet meals. Got to love Tremont. Hope you visit and find a little bit of it to love too!
Festivities begin at 11am with a Neil Diamond song… Please be sure to stop in the artist village and visit us. We dont have our booth assignment yet, but we do know we will be in one of the artist spokes of the park.